NetApp Minds Unstructured Data

More than half of all enterprise data resides outside databases, creating a potential nightmare for companies coping with the maze of new laws and regulations that require sensitive data to be preserved and protected.

Network Appliance hopes to tap into that large potential market with LockVault, its new product for managing such “unstructured” data.

Unstructured data — the documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other files floating around an enterprise — is in constant flux, because files are continually created, modified and moved, making them difficult to manage.

Mike Marchi, NetApp’s senior director of compliance and ILM solutions, says that unlike ECM solutions, NetApp’s LockVault uses full retention, so customers don’t need to worry about which files need to be saved for compliance reasons. To save on storage costs, the software copies and stores only the unique blocks of data that have been written since the most recent incremental backup. Every variation is protected, and any backup image can be verified, searched, indexed or recovered, and cannot be edited or deleted until its specified expiration date. LockVault also has a Compliance Journal for an unalterable audit trail.

LockVault software lists for $62,000, and can support organizations ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 employees, with client licenses costing $1,000 to $5,000 each. ATA-based NearStore secondary storage costs about $7 a gigbyte, and Marchi predicts that those storage costs will continue to fall.

Combined with NetApp’s SnapLock software for structured (database) and semi-structured (email) data, NetApp is calling its approach “Total Enterprise Compliance.”

“It’s a unique approach,” Marchi says. “We think we’ve leapfrogged the competition.”

“NetApp is providing a solution that enables compliance for all types of data — structured, semi-structured and unstructured — based on a single architecture,” says Peter Gerr, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “Companies can now leverage the same infrastructure to meet both their backup and compliance requirements. Archiving unstructured data is a growing and complex challenge for enterprises today. Not only does LockVault provide procedural and operational benefits, but it provides tangible cost savings as well. Simplifying backup while at the same time addressing compliance requirements is a win-win for customers.”

LockVault is integrated with NetApp SnapMirror software to support WORM-to-WORM remote replication. It is compatible with Windows, UNIX or Linux data residing on any NetApp system.

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